Florida Legislature Strips Disney of Special Tax Status

The Florida legislature passed a bill on April 21 to strip Disney of its special self-governing status amid a political clash over the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law.

The Florida House recently approved legislation to eliminate Disney’s special district in a 63 to 38 vote after it passed the state Senate in a 23 to 16 vote on April 20.

The House vote occurred without any final debate.

The legislation would remove Disney’s special district status on June 1, 2023.

Disney’s district, known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, covers the company’s properties in Orlando. It allowed the company to effectively operate as its own municipal government, granting it powers to levy tax, build roads, manage land within its boundaries, and provide its own public services.

Democratic Florida Representative Fentrice Driskell told CNN before the House vote that the legislation targeting Disney would cost the government in Orange County and Osceola Counties and taxpayers billions of dollars.

The bill now heads to Republican Governor Ron DeSantis who previously made it clear that he will sign the measure into law.

The final passage of the bill came as Disney, Florida’s largest private employer, and Florida lawmakers clashed over what critics dubbed as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Formally called the “Parental Rights in Education” law, it limits certain classroom discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through the third grade.

The Florida House also passed a bill in a 70 to 38 vote that would eliminate Disney’s exemption in a social media bill that was signed into law in 2021 but put on hold by a federal judge.

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